On the Beach | Christian Mieves | 07 - 30 November 2009
Through painting, artist Christian Mieves explores the geographical and cultural location of the beach landscape. Geographically the beach represents a transgression between the land and the sea, while culturally it may stand for a similar infringement of social boundaries.
In Mieves' paintings the setting of the beach is ambiguous in that it both references a key site at which modernity appears [for example the landing of Spanish conquistadores in America] and a primordial space of untouched simplicity. In this sense the beach is both a site where new and foreign agents first appear as well as a place of Arcadian purity that eludes the trajectory of progress.
The viewer of these paintings may find themselves trapped in uncertainty. The usual association of the beach with paradise resorts merges and clashes with the failure of shipwrecks and the desperation of the landing of refugees on European shores.
Evoking both positive and negative connotations, the beach can be interpreted as both a point of emotional disembarkation and also a site of dramatic breakdown. Set in this romantic realm the beach becomes an arena where dichotomies can be uncovered and subsequently transgressed.
Further images copyright of Christian Mieves
South Square, Thornton, Bradford, BD13 3LD
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